Check the foundations, the roof -- and the radon

An estimated one in three Minnesota homes harbors high levels of radon, and the Minnesota Department of Health urges people to have radon levels checked before buying or selling a home.

Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, with more than 21,000 deaths attributable to radon each year. It is the greatest environmental cancer risk and the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. Yet radon exposure is largely preventable.

MDH warns that the estimated one in three Minnesota homes with high radon levels pose a considerable health risk of lung cancer over many years of exposure. Homes with high radon levels are fixable, but first they must be tested.

Testing for radon during the sale of a home is an opportune time because:
•  The home seller can test for radon before putting the house on the market to ensure that it has safe levels for a potential buyer.
• The buyer can ask that a test be done during the home inspection period.

If high levels of radon are present, mitigating it can be handled during the home sale similar to other required home repairs.

A third-party radon tester, such as a certified radon measurement professional, can ensure that a radon test is done correctly and provide both parties with a report of the results. These professionals are listed at http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/eh/indoorair/radon/measurement.html.

Anyone interested in radon mitigation should consult MDH’s list of certified radon mitigation contractors at http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/eh/indoorair/radon/mitigation.html.

For more information on radon testing and mitigation visit http://www.health.state.mn.us/radon or call the MDH Indoor Air Unit at 651-201-4601 or 1-800-798-9050.

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